Almost 6 months after Tesla received more than 300’000 (refundable) pre-orders for an affordable and exiting all-electric vehicle with a promised range of 350 km, BMW’s senior management decided they had to skip a trade show to finally settle the question on wether or not to continue to invest in electric cars. Why does this question arise? Because apparently, their decisively ugly and technologically mediocre1 i3 didn’t sell very well. Reuters broke the news:
BMW’s management board is skipping the Paris Motor Show to hold talks aimed at breaking a deadlock over whether to produce new electric cars, including a battery-powered Mini, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Executives across the industry predict electric cars will increasingly gain mainstream acceptance among customers thanks to advances that make batteries get cheaper and more powerful and the VW emissions scandal, which has sparked a regulatory backlash against diesel-engine vehicles.
But BMW has been torn about whether to accelerate development of new electric cars, given its expensive early investments into the area which resulted in only lackluster sales of its i3, which saw only 25,000 deliveries last year.
While VW is understandably and deservedly suffering a lot for their dieselgate cheating, it seems that they finally understood the problem and will push EVs. Meanwhile, BMW believes that we will continue to use cars running on fossil fuels forever.
What’s your plan BMW? EVs will not take over the world tomorrow, but do you truly think they will still be (close to) irrelevant in 2025? 2050? By the end of the century? German luxury carmakers used to be way of the curve2 – the fact that I cannot name a single German thoroughbred EV that I’d buy right away (if money wasn’t an issue) is chastening.
- Original model had a range of 190km on the standardized New European Driving Cycle, now they also have a model that makes it to 300km – although real world performance seems to be worse as per BWM website ↩
- and maybe they still are in some increasingly irrelevant fields ↩
Almost 60 years ago, post-war Europe started an experiment to see whether peaceful existence would be possible in the long term. I personally consider the result of this experiment, today’s European Union1, a tremendous success. Visa- and even passport free travel within most of the member states, cheaper vacations and reduced cost of doing business because there’s no need to pay FX fees, reduced and soon completely abolished roaming fees, passenger rights. Also, peace – for the longest consecutive period in centuries.
Today, the people of the UK decided to start another experiment to see whether they’ll be better off on their own, without the perceived dictatorship of Brussel’s bureaucrats2.
An important difference between those experiments is that the former is based on cooperation and consensus, while the latter is focused on exclusion and new borders – not only between countries. Consensus doesn’t mean everybody will be happy all the time – but it means that we’ll make an effort to consider different opinions and requirements. The campaign that led up to today’s referendum left Britain utterly divided – unfortunately it’s much easier to divide people than it is to unite them. Especially, if you do not feel bound by the truth3 and prefer to use racist and xenophobic stereotypes instead. Now Scotland will want a new referendum on its own independence and who knows what’ll happen to Northern Ireland. Worst of all, there’s a huge generational divide between old people who mainly voted to leave but won’t face the consequences for as long as the younger generation, the majority of which voted to remain.
So what about the EU? It’s still an experiment without any recent precedence, so – naturally – not everything is going perfect. I am still hoping that it will remain strong and united. Until yesterday, we tried to make concessions to the UK in order to keep them in. Starting today we’ll have to negotiate strongly for the remaining 27 members. Making the exit too easy, will result in further exits and eventually the decay of the EU. The UK had its say4, now it’s time for the remainder of the EU to have its own. The fact that Cameron wants to delay the formal notice until October shows that the UK is still trying to play games. Out is out, now face the music.
- officially, the UK is and will remain a member for quite some time. Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon has not been invoked yet ↩
- Even without EU regulations, there will be national regulations, it’s just that the Brits too often didn’t get their way in a pluralistic discussion of 28 stakeholders ↩
- Two of the main leave arguments were that a) Europe is too expensive (just have a look at today’s development at the markets and see where your money went) and b) there’s excessive immigration (a field in which the UK always made their own rules) ↩
- Though it seems some didn’t have a clue what they were voting on ↩